A light, comic look at two bodily functions with high child appeal—but not noteworthy nonfiction.



The logical successor to Bennett’s previous “classics,” The Butt Book and Poopendous! (2010, 2012).

This snicker-inducing topic will be difficult for kids to resist. Those wayward gasses are always escaping—children might as well learn their physiology. Breaking his windy subject into two sections (with farts getting the lion’s share of the attention), Bennett focuses on burps first. Loose, rhyming couplets make mention of trapped gasses and the fizz of soda. But readers will have to decipher a bit on their own as well. “Talk too much when chomping chow?” is a nifty way to make a rhyme with “cow,” but it does not lend itself to an immediate understanding that one can swallow air while chewing. The second part is dedicated to farts. Let’s face it, they are far more fun. Greenish-yellow puffs and smell lines abound. A bit more science is offered here; microbes and bacteria are introduced, though they are never fully explained. If nothing else, young readers can practice counting to 14 during the calendarlike spread depicting the average number of farts per day. Sentences proclaiming themselves “facts” are appended at the end, though some are debatable. Can the definition of “morning thunder” really fall under that category?

A light, comic look at two bodily functions with high child appeal—but not noteworthy nonfiction. (Informational picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 19, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-60905-392-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Blue Apple

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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The print version of a knee-slapping cumulative ditty.

In the song, Smith meets a donkey on the road. It is three-legged, and so a “wonky donkey” that, on further examination, has but one eye and so is a “winky wonky donkey” with a taste for country music and therefore a “honky-tonky winky wonky donkey,” and so on to a final characterization as a “spunky hanky-panky cranky stinky-dinky lanky honky-tonky winky wonky donkey.” A free musical recording (of this version, anyway—the author’s website hints at an adults-only version of the song) is available from the publisher and elsewhere online. Even though the book has no included soundtrack, the sly, high-spirited, eye patch–sporting donkey that grins, winks, farts, and clumps its way through the song on a prosthetic metal hoof in Cowley’s informal watercolors supplies comical visual flourishes for the silly wordplay. Look for ready guffaws from young audiences, whether read or sung, though those attuned to disability stereotypes may find themselves wincing instead or as well.

Hee haw. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-26124-1

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 29, 2018

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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends


From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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